Holtec Inks Ukraine Deal to Build SMRs


Conceptual Design Image of SMR-160

(WNN) Holtec International, Ukraine’s Energoatom and the country’s State Scientific and Technology Centre (SSTC) have formally entered into a partnership to develop the US company’s SMR-160 small modular reactor for deployment in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s national nuclear operator Energoatom, the SSTC and Holtec International have ratified the creation of a consortium partnership that binds the three companies into a cooperative undertaking to deploy the SMR-160 small modular reactor in the country.

The consortium document was signed by Holtec CEO Kris Singh, Energoatom President Yury Nedashkovsky and SSTC President Igor Shevchenko. The signing ceremony – held at Holtec’s headquarters in Camden, New Jersey – was attended by senior Holtec officials and delegations from Mitsubishi Electric, the US Department of Energy and Energoatom. Its technology operation centre will be based in Kiev, Ukraine.

Holtec’s SMR technology deal with Ukraine is that it will become a manufacturing hub for SMR-160 reactor components. The MoU includes the licensing and construction of SMR-160 reactors in Ukraine, as well as an unspecified level of localisation of SMR-160 components.

The Ukrainian manufacturing hub is to mirror the capabilities of Holtec’s Advanced Manufacturing Plant in Camden, NJ, and will be one of four manufacturing plants Holtec plans to build at distributed sites around the world by the mid-2020s.  Holtec’s web site does not indicate where the other two plants will be built.

Holtec has not named a customer for its first unit. The SMR-160 is currently in the first phase of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s three-phase pre-licensing vendor design review process.

WNN reports that the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, the nuclear regulatory authority in Ukraine, is expected to coordinate its regulatory assessment of SMR-160 under a collaborative arrangement with its Canadian counterpart.

See prior coverage on this blogSMR Supply Chains, Costs Are Key Focus

Holtec’s Tax Break Application had a False Answer.
Now the State Has Put the Break on Hold

(Pro Publica) After WNYC and ProPublica identified a false answer on nuclear company Holtec International’s New Jersey tax break application, state officials have frozen the tax break pending further investigation. Reporting by by Nancy Solomon, WNYC, and Jeff Pillets June 4, 1:08 p.m. EDT Link

New Jersey state officials have placed a hold on a $260 million tax break for Holtec International, a nuclear energy company that built its new headquarters on the Camden waterfront. The plant is intended to manufacture components for small modular reactors.

NJ Officials took the action after a report last month from WNYC and ProPublica about an inaccuracy in a sworn certification submitted by Holtec CEO Kris Singh as part of the company’s application. In 2014, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) granted Holtec the second-largest tax break in state history to help the company bring new jobs to the city.

The company collected its first installment, a $26 million tax credit, after moving into its new headquarters in 2017. It would have been eligible for a $26 million credit every year thereafter for nine years.

Holtec did not respond to a request for comment from Pro Publica and WNYC. After WNYC and ProPublica contacted Holtec about the incorrect information on the application, a lawyer representing Holtec wrote to the EDA, calling the misstatement an “inadvertent mistake” that the company would like to correct.

In the sworn statement required for the tax break application, Holtec CEO Kris Singh said the company had never been barred from doing business with a state or federal agency. According to the news report, in 2010, the Tennessee Valley Authority suspended the company for two months and fined it $2 million after a federal investigation found the company had paid a TVA employee $54,212.

The employee pleaded guilty to a federal charge of failing to report the payment on a financial disclosure form. Holtec restored its relationship with the TVA. Holtec continues to hold contracts with the agency to this day some nine years after the case was closed.

These kinds of contract disputes in the world of federal procurement take place all the time, and are considered to be “one offs” by acquisition officials. The fact that TVA still does business with Holtec is an indication of this fact and that the firm was not barred from doing business with the utility as a result of the incident.

NJ wanted the 1,000 jobs Holtec promised for Camden which is one of the state’s most economically depressed cities. The size of the tax break in NJ, $260M, has attracted its share of critics some of whom are from firms that undoubtedly are annoyed they didn’t also get big tax breaks.

Update September 22, 2019 – The State of NJ continues its suspension of tax breaks for Holtecs SMR plant in Camden, NJ.  It released the hold on other tax breaks. The controversy includes whether a key Democratic member of the state legislature, who sits on Holtec’s board, had improper influence over the state’s decision to grant the tax breaks in the first place.

Separately, in July 2019 Holtec International’s subsidiaries completed the ownership transfer and acquisition of the Oyster Creek Generating Station from Exelon Generation for the purpose of decommissioning the plant.

Holtec Allies Reach Out to NM Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Resistance to an Interim Storage Site
for Spent Nuclear Fuel Near Carlsbad

(Carlsbad Current-Argus) Local officials said they were “disappointed” in New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy in opposition of a project to build a nuclear waste facility in southeast New Mexico, near Carlsbad and Hobbs.

The proposal by Holtec International would create a consolidated interim storage (CIS) facility to hold spent nuclear fuel rods temporarily while a permanent repository is developed.

Supporters intend to meet with the governor and New Mexico Environment Department Cabinet Secretary James Kenney to explain why the project is viable and safe. The site would be built on about 1,000 acres near the border of Eddy and Lea counties. New Mexico is also home to the nearby Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP).

Opponents challenged plans for the site as dangerous to the environment and worried the facility could become permanent as no other such repository exists or is in development. The governor has received protests from oil and gas firms claiming that the facility could contaminate their fields making the fossil resources unrecoverable. As a practical matter, the site is bone dry and geologically stable making it an ideal site for interim storage of spent fuel.

Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said the project would diversify the region’s economy, bringing jobs and revenue and economic stability amid the volatile oil and gas industry the area depends on. Advocates for the Holtec project added that, like WIPP, the project would pose no threat to the oil and gas industry in the region.

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